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Global Poverty Scenario

20-NOV-2015 17:22

    The proportion of people in developing countries living in extreme economic poverty— defined by the World Bank as living on less than $1 per day—has fallen from 28 per cent in 1990 to 21 per cent in 2001,but near about 3 billion peoples live less than $1.25/day . Poverty declined substantially in China and South-East Asian countries as a result of rapid economic growth and massive investments in human resource development. Number of poor’s in China has come down from 606 million in 1981 to 212 million in 2001. In the countries of South Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan) the decline has not been as rapid. Despite decline in the percentage of the poor, the number of poor has declined marginally from 475 million in 1981 to 428 million in 2001. Because of different poverty line definition, poverty in India (currently 21.9 % of total population) is also shown higher than the national estimates. In Sub-Saharan Africa, poverty in fact raised from 41 per cent in 1981 to 46 per cent in 2001. In Latin America, the ratio of poverty remained the same. Poverty has also resurfaced in some of the former socialist countries like Russia, where officially it was nonexistent earlier. The Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations calls for reducing the proportion of people living on less than $1 a day to half the 1990 level by 2015(new Millennium Development Goals want to eradicate the poverty by 2030).

    Causes of Poverty:

    1. One historical reason is the low level of economic development under the British colonial administration. The policies of the colonial government ruined traditional handicrafts and discouraged development of industries like textiles.
    2. High growth rate of population: As we know that the global population has crossed 7 billion mark but the resources are not increasing in the same proportion. It is increasing the number of poor in the world.
    3. Unequal distribution of land and other resources: Due to the uneven distribution of the resources the poor are getting poor and rich are getting rich year by year.
    4. Major policy initiatives like land reforms which aimed at redistribution of assets in rural areas have not been implemented properly.
    5. Many other socio-cultural and economic factors also are responsible for poverty. In order to fulfil social obligations and observe religious ceremonies, people in India, including the very poor, spend a lot of money.
    6. High level of indebtedness is both the cause and effect of poverty.
    7. Low Productivity in Agriculture: Due to global warming the productivity of the land is decreasing year by year despite the use of fertilizers in the huge quantity.
    8. Under Utilized Resources: The existence of under employment and disguised unemployment of human resources and under utilization of resources has resulted in low production in agricultural sector.
    9. Inflation: The continuous and steep price rise has added to the miseries of poor. It has benefited a few people in the society and the persons in lower income group find it difficult to get their minimum needs.

    Anti-Poverty Measures:

    Removal of poverty has been one of the major objectives of Indian developmental strategy. The current anti-poverty strategy of the government is based broadly on two planks (1) promotion of economic growth (2) targeted anti-poverty programmes. Over a period of thirty years lasting up to the early eighties, there were little per capita income growth and not much reduction in poverty. Official poverty estimates which were about 45 per cent in the early 1950s remained the same even in the early eighties. Since the eighties, India’s economic growth has been one of the fastest in the world. The growth rate jumped from the average of about 3.5 per cent a year in the 1970s to about 6 per cent during the 1980s and 1990s. The higher growth rates have helped significantly in the reduction of poverty. Therefore, it is becoming clear that there is a strong link between economic growths and poverty reduction. Economic growth widens opportunities and provides the resources needed to invest in human development. However, the poor may not be able to take direct advantage from the opportunities created by economic growth. Moreover, growth in the agriculture sector is much below expectations. This has a direct bearing on poverty as a large number of poor people live in villages and are dependent on agriculture.

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